I Kings 19:1-8, Matthew 10:32-42, Colossians 1:1-14
This is the first in a summer sermon series on Paul's Letter to the Colossians. When I proclaim the sermons during Sunday worship, I will be using a more expository method, opening up the Bible together and talking about the verses...So this sermon works better in person. Hint. Hint. Stockton Presbyterian worship starts at 11am.
In his introductory statements, Paul greets the Colossian church with
THANKSGIVING (verses 3-8)
Among other things, he is grateful for the update he hears about his readers:
We HEARD ABOUT your faith in Christ and love for all people
Faith and love SPRINGS from Hope.
Just like I Corinthians, here is that ethical trinity again> Faith. Hope. Love. When we live lives of faith, hope and love, they speak a story. This story is heard by others. Your faith, hope and love make a difference in this world.
Paul is also grateful for the truth: we have hope because of heaven. We have hope because of the truth of the gospel. Hope is growing all throughout the world. For example, Samaritan's Purse recently told the story of delivering over 200,000 Christmas Boxes to the people of Afghanistan, where there are no official churches. They were delivering hope, even when of great personal sacrifice.
Paul is also grateful for Ephaphras: a Loved, faithful, connectional servant, who saw the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of the believers in Colosse.
After sharing his reasons for gratitude, Paul then offers his prayer for the church.
PRAYER (verses 9-11)
--Know what God want.
--Great wisdom and understanding so that we will live an honorable life and one that pleases God.
What is a life pleasing to God?
There are a mulitude of examples, but Paul provides four ways...
- Producing fruit in every good work.
- Growing in the knowledge of God.
- Not giving up when trouble comes (because you have God’s strength)
- Giving Thanks. (Why not take the time to tell God 10 things you are thankful for each day?)
After offering blessing and prayer, Paul lays the foundation for our faith: WHAT GOD HAS DONE (verses 12-14)
--Qualified us to share in the people of light’s inheritance
--Rescued and freed us from darkness
--Brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.
--Christ paid for our sins
--Christ has forgiven us.
Sometimes we are like Elijah, We feel down, deserted, doubtful. We all need to look to Christ,
Who asks complete allegiance (because he can), who demands our all, who warns us about looking at earth before heaven.
Colossians teaches us about the good news growing in all the world.
Be a part of the good news. Be it. Live it. Believe it.